3 Simple Ways to Switch Electricity Companies

Summer is here, which means electricity usage skyrockets through the roof. If you find yourself overpaying for electricity during summer, do not worry because there are things you can do to lower than electric bill.

3 Simple Ways to Switch Electricity Companies

Step One:

Determine how much you are paying for electricity service? How much is too much? By using our comparison tool on ShopHoustonElectricity.com by entering in your zip code you can determine how much you currently pay, to what companies are currently offering.

Step Two:

How long do you need electricity service for? Whether you need electricity service for two years or two months, there are plenty of plan options to choose from. From plans with a contract, to plans without a contract; be sure to figure out how long you will need your service for.

Step Three:

Choose a plan and make the switch. Make sure you are not currently in a contract with your currently electricity provider. Check your bill to see when your contract expires if you are in one, or you can call your current provider.

Some things to keep in mind before your switch:

  • Remember to make sure you are up to date all on payments with your current electricity provider before switch.
  • There is no disconnection in your service when you switch electricity providers.
  • Your quality of electricity service is the same, regardless of which electricity company you choose.

Ideas for Lighting your Home to lower Electricity Costs

Let there be light! When it comes to saving on your electricity bill, having a low rate is only the beginning to your savings! What about going the extra mile? Lighting can save energy costs and make your home energy efficient.

 

Ideas for Lighting your Home to lower Electricity Costs

Let’s start off with changing out the light bulbs in your home/business.

  • Choose LED bulbs or CFL bulbs because they are the most energy efficient. CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy and output less heat, than normal bulbs. The CFL bulbs also have a longer lifespan so you will rarely have to replace them.
  • Check the package of the light bulbs to make sure they are for the appropriate wattage. Example: Some bulbs are for lamps, some bulbs are for ceiling fans. Check the package for more details.
  • Install motion sensor lights if you can in your house, even for outdoor lighting.
  • Use a timer to remember to turn off all lights, if you don’t have a motion sensor option.
  • Paint walls a lighter color so they reflect light.
  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Rearrange furniture towards the natural light of windows or screen doors.

 

When you are not using lights, just turn them off. Also teach children to unplug gadgets and turn off lights when they are not using them to save energy costs. Replacing lighting in your home can save up to $100 per year that you can spend on other things.

Light bulb Shopping 101

Got an old bulb in your home that is not lighting up the room as much as it should? Maybe it is time to replace it.

If you are asking yourself what kind of bulbs you should buy:

Light bulb Shopping 101

 

LED Bulbs: The most energy efficient bulbs of them all. LED stands for light-emitting diodes, and produce 75% less energy that your standard incandescent bulbs. These bulbs are high quality, even though they cost more; they pay for themselves in energy cost savings!

Output: Cold to neutral

 

CFL Bulbs: These bulbs looking like ice cream swirl cones. Also known as Compact Fluorescent Bulbs they use about 70% less energy than standard bulbs. If you have a dimmer, make sure the CFL bulb package says ‘dimmable’.

Output: Cold to neutral

 

Halogen bulbs:

These bulbs look like incandescent bulbs, but they are more energy saving. These bulbs are dimmable.

Output: Warm to neutral

 

Flourescent lamps: Not dimable unless you buy a ballast; ask your local hardware store employee about these ballasts. They use approximately 25% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Output: Cold to neutral

Make sure you are buying ENERGY-STAR labeled bulbs! Why? Simply because your energy costs will be cut in half when you buy energy efficient light bulbs.

What to Know when buying a Small Appliance

When shopping around for a new appliance, it’s best to know what you’re after and which model will fulfill your needs. Just because you find two blenders doesn’t mean they can achieve the same success. Sure, they both blend, but one with a higher wattage will blend and pulverize much better. The same reasoning goes for any appliance, so how do you know which one to get?

What to Know when buying a Small Appliance

  • Coffee Makers – Coffee makers have become highly convenient over the years. You can now make single serve cups of coffee (and tea as well, now) by using pods. These pods are pre-measured so you get the perfect cup of coffee every time. Unless you use reuseable pods, they can be very wasteful, so that’s one thing to consider. These appliances also sport multiple possible features such a preprogrammed brewing (place the beans, filter, water, and pot, and it will start brewing at whatever time you set), built in grinders (freshest coffee taste), and temperature settings (so it’s always the perfect temp, every time).
  • Toasters - Toasters usually range from 2 to 8 slots and some come with extra wide or long openings to accommodate larger items such as bagels. Toaster ovens are perfect for reheating things like pizza and other baked foods, and they do well at baking small servings so you don’t need to warm up that energy hog oven.
  • Microwave – Microwaves range in power between 700 and 1200 watts. A 1200 watt microwave will cook food faster. Countertop microwaves come in the same styles as mounted ones, and you can purchase trim kits to match your kitchen. Look for a microwave that has pre-programmed cooking options. These options make it very convenient to perfectly cook or reheat some dishes.

Whichever small appliance you’re looking for, another good tip is to look for one that is Energy Star certified. A certified appliance will use 20-30% less electricity than an uncertified model, so you’ll save money in the long run.

While Away from Home Electricity Costs Can Increase

When you plan to take a hard earned vacation, why not spend money on the vacation rather than on your next electricity bill. Being eco-friendly can also help you save some cash by being energy efficient. Whether traveling for business or pleasure or just visiting friends or family over the weekend, here is a short checklist which will help you save on your next utility bill.

while away from home electricity costs can increase

  • Water Heater: Unless you have a tank-less water heater, this unit consumes energy to keep the water warm even if you are not using the hot water. Over the month, this unit will cost you a couple of bucks so unless you fear that the pipes will freeze, you can safely turn it off. Even the temperature very low will help you in your next bill.
  • Furnace: Turn this baby down to 50 to 55 F and save 10 to 30 percent on your heating bill without the fear of freezing your pipes.
  • Refrigerator: Give all the perishables to your neighbors and turn it down to the lowest settings. You can go as high as 38 F without spoilage and keep the freezer at -5 F which will still keep your fish and veggies frozen.
  • Lights: Turn them off when you are away and if you need them for safety, install timer or motion detected lights to keep your home protected.
  • Electronics: Unplug them and don’t let the “Phantom Load” bite you. Even when the electronics are not turned on but are just plugged in, they still tend to consume power. So reduce all the extra energy cost by unplugging them completely.
  • Air Conditioning: Your home does not need to be chilled when you are away, so turn off the cooling and save as much as $15 biweekly.
  • Stove: If you know how to reignite your pilot, shutting it down during a vacation will save you a few bucks every month.
  • Last Step: Make sure to unplug your microwave, toaster, coffee maker, blow dryer and cordless phones etc. Even your TV, DVD Player and battery charger also needs to be unplugged but by taking a few extra minutes and unplugging these will help you save at the end of the month.

Electricity Shopping in Texas

When shopping for a Houston electricity provider, it’s important to know what kind of plans are available. Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) offer plans that can vary by contract length, payment options, and whether they offer renewable energy. Plans can feature a fixed rate, where your cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) is set at one price for a given length of time. Variable rate plans can change from month to month.

Electricity Shopping in Texas

Fixed Rate Plan:

Fixed rate plans are particularly attractive when rates are very low. This will lock in your rate for the length of time determined by your contract terms. Contract lengths can vary from three months to three years. If the market rate changes at any time during your contract, you will continue to pay your locked in rate, whether it is lower or higher. Your rate may change slightly if the Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU) changes their fees, if ERCOT changes administrative fees, or if your REP imposes fees to cover costs associated with new laws and regulation. This type of plan makes it easier to budget your monthly electricity expenses. If you decide to back out of a fixed rate plan before your contract term ends, you will likely have to pay a cancellation fee.

Variable Rate Plan:

Variable plans have no contract length, meaning you can cancel one at any time without any penalty. However, the rate you pay can change from month to month, based on the market value and your REP’s discretion. If prices are on the decline, you’ll likely get a better rate than those in fixed plans, but if a natural disaster, cold winter, or other negative market condition crops up, your rates could spike. However, the power to choose and switch REPs at any time with no contract cancellation fees, REPs will tend to keep their rates as low as possible.

Terms, Conditions, and Options:

When shopping for lower energy costs, be sure to understand the contract terms and conditions. Pick a contract term length that best suits you, whether it is a month to month plan, or a fixed rate over a year or two. If you prefer to use renewable electricity, check your REP’s plans to see if they offer any green or renewable plans. The plan’s electricity facts label (EFL) to see what percentage of the plan’s electricity comes from renewable sources. Finally, some plans are available as pre-paid. With these, you add money to your energy account and as you use electricity, the money is deducted for the electricity you use. REPs will send you an email or a text message to alert you of how much money is left in your prepaid account. If your account runs out before you add more money, your electricity will be shut off. These plans tend to have higher rates than the others.

Reading your electricity meter can save you some time

Your local utility company reads your electricity meter every month to determine how much electricity you used between the previous and current billing periods. The electricity your devices, appliances, and lights use is measured in watts, and your total energy consumption is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). One kWh is equivalent to running a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours, or using 1000 watts over the course of an hour. This energy consumption is totaled up between all of the electrical devices and appliances in your home and that total is represented by numbers or dials on your electric meter. If you want to get a sense of how much electricity your home consumes over a given day or week, you can read the meter to find out this information yourself. Digital meters display the number of kilowatt hours consumed and are easy to read, but analog meters with gears and dials may seem a bit confusing at first. Analog meters typically have between four and six dials that tell you how many kWh you’ve used. Some are designed like the odometer of a car and are simple to read but others have circular dials with a needle point to or in between numbers. These dials also alternate between clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

 

The first step to reading a meter is to make sure you are looking directly at the needle you wish to read. Looking at it from an angle may skew the reading. Reading the dials from left to right, you read each number that the needle has passed. The needle always travels along the numbers in ascending order, regardless of whether it’s clockwise or counterclockwise. If the needle looks like it’s directly over a number, check the next dial to the right. If the next dial has passed 0, read the number the needle is over. If it has not passed 0, read the number before the one it is over. Below is an example of a 5-dial analog meter. We will read this meter and give an example of a week’s worth of energy use.

Reading your electricity meter can save you some time

 

Using the method discussed above, we clearly see the first dial is 2, the most recent passed number. The second dial is over the 6, but the third dial is just before the 9, so the second dial is 5. The third dial is 8, the fourth is 6, and the fifth is 6. As you can see, each dial rotates in the opposite direction of the previous dial.The electric meter above reads 25866 kWh. Let’s say this is your actual meter reading. On the same day the following week, the meter reads 26223. By taking 26223 and subtracting last week’s reading, 25866, from it, you get 375. That means your home has consumed 357 kilowatt hours worth of electricity since reading your meter the previous week. If you want to get an average weekly consumption over the course of a month, repeat the process for the next three weeks, add the differences together and divide them by 4, the number of weeks.

 

Your energy consumption is not going to be the same each week. Weeks that are hotter or colder will have higher differences because of the added use of climate control in your home. You can use the meter to track how much electricity various appliances consume in your home as well. Check the lowest value dial (which would be at the far right or possibly a thin rotating disc at the bottom) over the course of 15 seconds. Multiply that number by 4 to get the energy consumption per minute. Then, you can shut off a circuit to a part of your home like your living room, then check the meter again. The last dial or disc will be spinning more slowly and you can see how much electricity that part of your home is consuming. It may be easier to invest in an ammeter, however.

Reading your electricity meter can save you some time

Snow and solar panels

Green living starts at home.  There are plenty of things that one can do to save energy and lower the electricity bills.  One of the natural ways to get electricity is solar panels.  These panels can still generate electricity under light snow fall, but when snow blocks sunshine completely, it becomes a problem for the panels to generate electricity.  Generally if the snow melts quickly then there is no worry, but if there is lot of snow it can cause problem.  There are ways to combat the said issue.Snow and solar panels

 

To avoid the snow to remain in the panel, the panels should be arranged in slanting or steep position, which would let the snow fall down or melt more easily and they can deal with harsh climate easily.  Snow can be swept off the panels using a garden rake. Snow on the ground reflects and can create more electricity.  Solar panels allow snow to melt faster because of the reflection caused.  If there is light dusting of the snow, the solar panels lets it melt faster and generates electricity in the normal way.

 

Snow and solar panel can go along together without any problems or issues, if proper care and regular cleaning of the solar panels is done during the winter season.

Cheap electricity now available

It is not easy to run a house or a business. The utility bills are really expensive these days and to maintain a decent standard of living one needs to spend on certain things.  It cannot be ignored, this is why one should try and save on all the bills possible especially the electricity bills.  Proper measures should be taken to save on your monthly bills.  One of the most expensive bills is the electricity bill.  Whether it is your residential or business, the electricity expenses always seems to be on a high or is always getting soar.  You might feel that there is nothing you can do, but yes there are certain options available that one needs to go through properly for them to utilize them for their own benefit.

Cheap electricity now available

The primary thing to do is, to look out for service providers who give cheap electricity.  These providers are usually tied up with different electricity providers who have varied options, plans and rates when it comes to selling electricity.  It could be used for your business and residential purpose.  There are different plans and rates for both headings.  This way you can choose from the many options and also compare the prices before zeroing down on one plan or rate.

We at Shop Houston Electricity help you with different electricity providers and their details. There are different cheap rates available for the energy source and also wonderful range of plans, offers which differ for both personal and business use. The best part is that you can compare the prices of different companies and then opt for the one that suits your pocket or budget. It is always good to be updated on a continuous basis when it comes to purchasing of such plans. This will make it easy for you to decide on the most beneficial plan for yourself.

Each season will have different need when it comes to electricity. Summers will demand air conditioners and the method to remain cooler indoors. While, winters will call for room heaters. There are amazing plans and rates with us that you can choose from for different seasons. One need not worry about high electricity bills if you are shopping cheap electricity from Shop Houston electricity. Get the best rates and services possible, no need to fret about soaring electricity prices or bills. One can lead a relaxed life by buying cheap electricity.

Get the cheapest and best electricity from us. This energy cannot be neglected as it has become mandatory for us to use electricity, if we want to progress in today’s world. For both business and residential convenience electricity is required and now it is available at a reasonable, affordable and cheap price by genuine and reputed electricity companies.  So, make the most of it by using the services and offers given by these service providers and leading an affordable life by paying manageable electricity bills in both business and personal use.

What you should know about your Thermostat this Summer?

With the summer temps already hitting 90°F, we’re all cranking up the AC by bringing our thermostats to the lowest settings possible. But, did you know that maintaining these low temperatures is doing a number on your electricity bill? If you are maintaining your house temperature at 68° all day long, you are paying at least 10-15% more on your electricity bill. For just eight hours per day, setting your thermostat 10-15° higher will save that wasted energy. Do this when you’re asleep and out at work to maximize your savings, which can range from 1-3% per degree higher.
By installing a programmable thermostat, you can let the thermostat do all the temp setting for you. A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature for different parts of the day, and it will turn your AC on or off when the trigger temperatures are reached. You can set the thermostat to be 68° from the time you get home to when you go to bed, set it to 78° while you are asleep, 72° in the morning as you get ready for work, and 78° while at work. This can net you a significant savings on electricity usage.
Programmable thermostats are not for everyone, though. While they aren’t very complicated to program, they do have limitations with certain types of heating equipment. Heat pumps work like an air conditioner in cooling mode, but in heating mode, setting the temperature below your preferred temp is actually inefficient for the system. Any savings you would gain from lowering the temperature, you would lose to the inefficiency. Electric resistance systems like baseboard heating requires a special line voltage programmable thermostat to run.
with steam and radiant heat systems, it can take hours to reach the set temperature on your thermostat. Some newer programmable thermostats can “learn” how to optimize your heating needs around this, but you can also set the thermostat to begin warming up a few hours before waking up or coming home.
To further maximize your energy savings, set the thermostat a little higher than normal for your at-home temperature. Remember, you can save 1-3% per degree over the course of eight hours when you raise your thermostat higher. Closing blinds or curtains during the day will keep out extra sunlight and also keep you home cooler. This means that you won’t hit the “on” temperature as often, and you’ll hit the “off” temperature more quickly. By optimizing your home to take advantage of airflow and shade, you can vastly improve the efficiency of your AC.
You have the power to choose the best method for heating and cooling your home. In addition to saving electricity and therefore money, you could switch to a new provider that offers cheaper electricity rates. You can also pick a plan that offers renewable energy options to contribute to the well-being of the environment as well.